Subourbon Mom

Dear Santa–For Christmas I Want A Teenager.

Like everything with teenagers, Christmas at this age is a mixed sack of coal and gifts.

These days, we no longer have to scramble to hide their gifts and the special Santa wrapping paper (which I found out later they already knew about). Now, I just remind the family, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive” (we all receive, and there is no mention of the questionable fat man in a body stocking stuffing himself into our chimney like a sausage.)  We no longer stay up until 1:00am putting together brightly-colored plastic, cursing every Chinese company that decided heavy-duty plastic was a good idea. But we also don’t have those magical moments, like when the kids would pause at the top of the stairs and survey the loot under the tree like they had found the Holy Grail; or the morning Daughter #1 burst into tears on Christmas Day. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m just so happy!”

I also miss letters to Santa. Every year, the girls would carefully compose their letters to Santa, or dictate them to me. We would address them to the North Pole and stick them in the mailbox. About a week later, our wonderful mail carrier would deliver a hand-written letter back, addressed to each child by name.  These days, I get gift list updates from my kids via email and text (from the next room), with links to the different catalogs and stores for my shopping ease.

But one thing that is definitely better is the tradition of getting the tree. We still go to the same lot, and we still wander around letting the girls make the decision. But now, the girls can articulate their opinions:

Daughter #1:  “I don’t like this one—it has a hole.”

Daughter #2:  “Your face is a hole.”

Me:  Sigh….

Hubby:  “What about his one?”

Daughter #1:  “I don’t like it. It lacks originality.”

Decorating the tree is also better. Now the girls can put the ornaments higher than our knees.  They re-hash the family trips we’ve taken, since we try to get an ornament form each new place (“Mom, do you remember the time Aunt Cindy tried to get on the ski tube and her face landed in your lap?”–followed by hysterical laughing).  Unfortunately, they also like tinsel, and every year they glob it on heavier than Troy Polamalu’s hair, and every year I take a little off each day, trying to minimize the tackiness (of the tree, not Troy’s hair).Unknown-1

But the best thing about having teenagers during Christmas is that even though they send me shopping lists on-line, and they no longer burst into spontaneous tears of joy, they appreciate the family time. As I write this, they are decorating the tree, laughing over the toilet paper tube ornaments and debating whether the Redskins are worthy of having their ornaments adorn our tree (we’re hardcore fans, so they’re going on, but with serious reservations).  They may not remember all the toys or the letters to Santa, but I hope they will remember the time we spend together.

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